Olympia Valance may be the new kid on the Erinsborough block but the Greek Australian is no stranger to Ramsay Street. As a young girl, she visited the set many times with her older sister Holly Valance – who played Felicity ‘Flick’ Scully on the hit Australian show Neighbours for four years. So now as she’s set to be the newest cast member on the long-running soap, going to work with a cast and crew that she’s known for most of her life was almost meant to be.
And it wasn’t just her famous acting and singing sister; she grew up in an artistic family and says “she [doesn’t] know any different”. And it’s not just acting, Olympia’s grandfather is Dimitris Gogos, the founder of Neos Kosmos, where she spent many days surrounded by the fast paced world of print media.
“I’ve grown up my whole life with being backstage at concerts, always being around press, so it was easier for me to transition into what I am doing now,” Valance tells Neos Kosmos.
“I grew up in a family surrounded by the arts; with Ross [Wilson] who has been a singer for many years, so I grew up with him jamming at home and going to his gigs; and obviously Holly Valance, who started her career when I was quite young, so I’ve always been around the industry.”
Olympia says her family have been incredibly supportive of her decision to be the latest cast member on the soap. On June 2, her character Paige Novak is set to make her Australian debut. And Paige is entering the street with a bit of a secret.
“She’s exactly like me,” says the actress excitedly, “when I read the character breakdown to my mum, she said ‘if you don’t get this role you are never going to get anything’ as she’s spot on me.”
Olympia describes her character as feisty, intelligent, super sensitive and really sweet; a girl who can hold her own and stand up for herself, one that ruffles a feather or two.
But landing the role itself was one of the toughest and most gruelling things this 21-year-old has had to do. It was nearly a month of arduous auditions, learning new scripts and call-backs, then the Wednesday came; the day she was going to be told if she got the role or not. Olympia remembers that day so well, glued to the phone waiting for it to call and nothing. Then later in the night the call came through and the producers yelled in the phone that she had the role.
Her interest in the acting industry began at high school, but after attending Melbourne Actor’s Lab, her confidence rose enough to audition for Neighbours.
“It’s like this is what I am supposed to be doing, and everyone knew it,” she says of securing the role on Neighbours. It was her first audition, and even though she admits she is very lucky, her future in the arts was secured with her family background.
Olympia Valance will appear on Australian television on June 2 when her character Paige will make her debut in Ramsay Street. You can catch Neighbours weeknights on Channel 11.